Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ascensiontide novena to the Holy Ghost

A novena is a nine-day vigil of prayer, usually focused on a sing theme or petition. The first novena was recorded in Acts 1:4-5, 12, 14. Jesus, "while staying with [the disciples] ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, 'you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'" In response, "they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet . . . and all these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers."

It has been customary to keep a novena for the coming of the Holy Spirit from Ascension to Pentecost, in imitation of this early church experience. I encourage you to give it a try if you have never done so before. The texts below may aid you in this endeavor.

Begin with this prayer each day:
O Holy Spirit, my Lord and my God, I adore thee and humbly acknowledge here in thy sacred presence that I am nothing, and can do nothing, without thy operation within me. Come, great Paraclete, thou Father of the poor, thou Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Saviour, who would not leave us orphans, and enter my mind and heart as thou didst descend on the day of Pentecost upon the holy Mother of Jesus and upon his first disciples. Grant that I may have a part in those gifts which thou didst so prodigally bestow upon them. Take from my heart all that is not pleasing to thee and make of it a worthy dwelling-place for Jesus.

Illumine my mind, that I may see and understand the things that are for my eternal welfare.

Inflame my heart with pure love of the Father, that, cleansed from attachment to all unworthy objects, my whole life may be hidden with Jesus in God.

Strengthen my will, that it may be conformable to the will of my Creator and guided by thy holy inspirations.

Aid me to practice the heavenly virtues of humility, poverty and obedience which are taught me in the earthly life of Jesus.

Descend upon me, O mighty Spirit, that, inspired and encouraged by thee, I may faithfully fulfill the duties of my state in life, carry my daily cross with patience and courage, and accomplish the Father's will for me more perfectly. Make me, day by day, more holy and give to me that heavenly peace which the world cannot give.

O Holy Spirit, thou Giver of every good and perfect gift, grant to me the intentions of this novena of prayer. May the Father's will be done in me and through me. And mayest thou, O mighty Spirit of the living God, be praised and glorified for ever and ever. Amen.

Veni Creator Spiritus
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, and lighten with celestial fire, thou the anointing Spirit art, who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart. Thy blessed unction from above, is comfort, life, and fire of love; enable with perpetual light the dullness of our blinded sight. Anoint and cheer our soiled face with the abundance of thy grace. Keep far our foes; give peace at home. Where thou art Guide no ill can come. Teach us to know the Father, Son, and thee, of both, to be but One; that, through the ages all along, this may be our endless song: praise to thine eternal merit, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Our Father . . .
Hail, Mary . . .

Then either the following prayer, or one of the prayers below:
O God, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

First Day after the Ascension
Come, O Holy Ghost, the Lord and Life-giver; take up thy dwelling within my soul, and make of it thy sacred temple. Make me live by grace as an adopted son of God. Pervade all the energies of my soul, and create in me a fountain of living water springing up into life everlasting.

Second Day
Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, and power, and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Show me the way by which I may be able to attain to them, and possess them, and hold them hereafter, my own forever.

Third Day
ome, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten my mind, that I may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation, and may merit at last to see the eternal light in thy light; and in the light of glory to have the clear vision of thee and the Father and the Son.

Fourth Day
Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good, turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the path of thy commandments to the goal of eternal life.

Fifth Day
Come, O Spirit of Fortitude, and give courage to my soul. Make my heart strong in all trials and in all distress, pouring forth abundantly into it the gifts of strength, that I may be able to resist the attacks of the devil.

Sixth Day
Come, O Spirit of Knowledge, and make me understand and despise the emptiness and nothingness of the world. Give me grace to use the world only for thy glory and the salvation of thy creatures. May I always be very faithful in putting thy rewards before every earthly gift.

Seventh Day
Come, O Spirit of Piety, possess my heart; incline it to a true faith in thee, to a holy love of thee, my God, that with my whole soul I may seek thee, and find thee my best, my truest joy.

Eighth Day
Come, O Spirit of holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever; and shun all things that can offend thee so that I may be made worthy to appear before the pure eyes of thy divine Majesty in the heaven of heavens, where thou livest and reignest in the unity of the ever-blessed Trinity, world without end.

Vigil of Pentecost
Come, O Holy Comforter, and grant me a relish for heavenly things. Produce in my soul the fruits of virtue, so that, being filled with all sweetness and joy in the pursuit of good, I may attain unto eternal blessedness.

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